April 4, 2018 — Acquisition activity in the dealer website world suddenly has become hot with the third deal since last November. This afternoon, fusionZONE Automotive LLC announced it is acquiring competitor MotorWebs Inc.
The acquisition is the 18th automotive retail vendor deal this year and follows Primus Capital’s majority investment into fusionZONE last November. The announcement also follows the appointment of Steve Greenfield as president of fusionZONE in March. Today’s acquisition should be the first of more acquisitions for fusionZONE over the next 12 to 18 months.
A third website-related acquisition happened in February when Cars.com announced the acquisition of DealerInspire.
Adding MotorWebs makes fusionZONE one of the top website providers for Toyota as part of its Toyota Digital Dealer Solutions program. Headquartered in Seattle, the company was founded by husband-and-wife team Ron and Jan Clayton in 2002. The Claytons have kept a low profile over the years focusing on providing a high level of customer service instead of aggressive growth.
Brett and Karen Sutherlin, also a husband and wife team, started fusionZONE in 2009 and continue to run the company today. It has offices in California and Florida, and will open an office in Seattle while retaining MotorWebs employees.
“Ron and Jan Clayton deserve high praise for the amazing business they have built,” Brett Sutherlin, CEO of fusionZONE, said in a press release. “Both Karen and I immediately recognized the synergies of this deal, and have had a great time brainstorming with Ron and Jan to find additional areas of value creation for our customers. MotorWebs and fusionZONE are aligned in offering the absolute best to dealers in terms of technology and customer support. We immediately knew we could really scale the business.”
Ron Clayton said similarities between the two firms made the sale an easy decision. “We have been watching the growth of fusionZONE and have been impressed with the high level of satisfaction reported by fusionZONE customers.”